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Gaza: UN calls for humanitarian ceasefire

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on the conflict on Monday.

A Palestinian carries mattresses he found in the rubble of destroyed buildings on 27 July 2014 in the Shejaiya residential district of Gaza City. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - With more than 1,000 people killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict, the United Nations (UN) Security Council has held an emergency meeting on Monday.

It announced strong support for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

It didn't take long after the council's statement was read that the Palestinians and Israelis announced their objections.

The Palestinians have been longing for a more forceful resolution which would include wording that calls on Israel to withdraw from Gaza.

Riyad Mansour is the permanent observer of Palestine to the UN.

"They should have adopted a resolution a long time ago to condemn this aggression. They should provide the Palestinian people with protection."

Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor says he doesn't want to talk to the Security Council.

He says his message is aimed at citizens of the world.

"Hamas isn't working alone, it's funded by Qatar and Iran. Every rocket flying out of Gaza can bear the imprint of Iran, while every terror tunnel could have a sign that reads 'made possible by the kind donation of Qatar'."

ISRAEL EASES GAZA ASSAULT

Israel eased its assaults in the Gaza Strip and Palestinian rocket fire from the enclave declined sharply on Monday, the military said.

As international pressure mounted to end a 21-day conflict an Israeli military official said the army would only respond to attacks for an indefinite period.

"The situation now is an unlimited truce," Israel's chief military spokesperson, Brigadier General Motti Almoz, said. "The IDF [Israeli Defence Force] is free to attack after any fire if there is any."

However, the lull appeared fragile amid diplomatic tension between Israel and its main sponsor, the United States. Sirens warning of incoming rockets from Gaza sounded in some Israeli communities near the border.

Israeli troops meanwhile continued to hunt and destroy cross-border militant tunnels inside Gaza, and it was not clear if Hamas was ready to agree to a prolonged pause.

A single rocket was fired out of the battered coastal territory at the Israeli city of Ashkelon in the first nine hours of Monday, according to the Israeli military, which said it struck two rocket launchers and a weapon manufacturing site in the northern and central Gaza strip.

Gaza's Health Ministry said a seven-year-old boy was killed in one of the attacks.

Hamas's armed wing said it killed two Israeli soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip. An Israeli military spokesperson said a soldier was wounded there but she knew of no fatalities.

Some residents in Gaza reported they had received a recorded telephone message on Monday which said in Arabic: "Listen Hamas, if you are still alive, you should know that if you continue, we will respond, we will respond violently."

Israeli leaflets dropped over Gaza listed dozens of names of gunmen from Hamas and its ally, Islamic Jihad, that the military says it has killed since the start of the offensive.

"This list is part of the names of those who thought they could face the might of the Israeli Defense Forces," read the leaflet, which included a map to a graveyard where the militants were allegedly buried.